Social media outlets such as Facebook are becoming important investigative tools for law enforcement agencies. Here are three recent examples of Facebook being used to catch suspects.
Leveraging Social Media, Glen Rock Makes Arrest in Prescription Fraud Cases
Had 21-year-old Armend Salijaj of Manhattan ‘liked’ the Glen Rock Police Department, he’d likely be at cozier digs than the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack.
Salijaj was arrested in connection to an attempted prescription fraud bid that ended in a dramatic foot chase on Tuesday night, and police believe the capture could lead to numerous police departments solving similar outstanding cases.
The arrest, police tout, is a result of effective use of social media, alert police and cognizant citizens.
According to Det. James Calaski, the pharmacist at Rock Ridge Pharmacy noticed a familiar man attempting to fill a prescription just past 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The individual, whom police identified as Salijaj, fit the description of a suspect whose “crew” of four successfully committed a fraud at the Glen Rock CVS on April 25, and unsuccessfully attempted to score oxycodone from the Rock Ridge Pharmacy the same day.
Recognizing the name of the doctor on the prescription and pictures of the suspect posted on the Glen Rock Police Facebook page, the alert Rock Ridge pharmacist called police. Calaski said Ptl. Murray Yang confronted the suspect in the store and after a brief questioning, the suspect bolted through an alley but eventually was captured by Yang and Ptl. Scott McGovern near the train tracks.
According to Calaski, Salijaj along with two males and a female were responsible for similar prescription frauds in Fair Lawn, Hawthorne, Spring Valley (NY) and Brooklyn. While Salijaj admitted to being responsible for the Glen Rock fraud attempts, he refused to disclose the identities of his accomplices, the detective told Patch.
Police, who had loaded clearer pictures of the alleged crew on Facebook hours before the attempt on Tuesday night, say the ring could be responsible for twelve known prescription fraud cases and dozens more.
Calaski said Salijaj, who emigrated from Kosovo, had about 20 stolen drivers licenses on him. Salijaj told detectives the Tuesday arrest actually fell on his birthday (official documents show he was born on June 15, but detectives said Salijaj claimed his father wrote down the wrong date on immigration papers).
“It’s a sign of the times,” Calaski said of the rising number of drug fraud cases. “You look at the type of fraud we’re dealing with…we’re just seeing a lot more of it.”
The prescription police say Salijaj used was traced to a New York doctor, whom police say is not believed to be complicit in the fraud ring.
Salijaj is being held on $150,000 bail and is charged with two counts each of attempt to obtain CDS by fraud, receiving stolen property, forgery by uttering, and identity theft/impersonation of another. He was also charged with resisting arrest by flight.
Police are confident the remaining three suspects (see photos posted to the right) will be brought to justice, and soon.
“It’s just a matter of time before we find them or someone recognizes them,” Calaski said.
WI Rapids Police Solve Four Crimes With Help From Facebook Fans
The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department continues to solve crimes with the use of Facebook.
Since January, the department has solved four crimes thanks to their Facebook fans.
The most recent incident involved a woman who didn’t pay for her groceries. Police say a Facebook user was able to identify the woman after her image was posted on the department’s page.
Facebook users have also told police where a counterfeit bill came from, and who had stolen a wallet full of money.
Lt. Brian Krzykowski, who updates Facebook regularly, says using the social website helps connect police with the public.
“Also provide in a positive format so they get to know more about what we do and how we’re doing it, and they’re also able to respond by giving us thumbs up or likes or even comment on our posts,” he said.
The Facebook page serves as a bulletin on alerts, upcoming events and answers to frequently asked questions. Lt. Kryzkowski diligently answers questions users post.
But he warns not to post complaints on Facebook. The best way to report a crime is by calling police or going directly to the police station.
The department has received a lot of positive feedback on their page since implementing it Jan. 18th.
“That’s the kind of stuff we enjoy hearing as well. We don’t expect that,” he said.
Wisconsin Rapids is one of the few police departments in the state using Facebook in this manner.
Brimfield police chief catches suspect through Facebook
BRIMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Tuesday we brought you the story of Brimfield’s Police Chief David Oliver posting messages on the department’s Facebook page seeking a suspect on the run.
Brimfield: Police chief pursues suspect on Facebook
On Wednesday, Oliver and police K-9 Havoc got their man, according to the Brimfield Police Department Facebook page.
The suspect was caught hiding almost in plain sight right there in Brimfield.
The Facebook account reads as follows:
We have been receiving tips for the last three days. Our phones and FB messaging has been going crazy. One anonymous tip we received put the suspect in an apartment in Brimfield, which to us seemed like it would be a little crazy. We understand the hiding in plain sight logic; however that usually only applies to car keys.
Sgt. Knarr ran the lead down and we took a drive over to an apartment on Sandy Lake Road. Sgt. Knarr, K-9 Havoc and Officer Sonagere watched the back of the residence while Officer Pettit and I knocked on the door.
After a few minutes, we were met by the renter and the fugitive’s girlfriend, who is out on bond from our arrest of her on Sunday. An initial search of the residence turned up nothing.
However, an attic access made Sgt. Knarr and Officer Pettit curious. The attic was filled full of loose insulation and no one appeared to be in there and no one responded to our commands to “come out.
Sgt. Knarr thought perhaps K-9 Havoc would tell us if anyone was hiding in there. Havoc was lifted up into the attic and immediately began going bonkers and out popped a head from under two feet of insulation.
Drug dealer captured, thank you Havoc (And Sgt. Knarr and Officer Pettit).
The girlfriend was arrested AGAIN, and so was the renter. Both will be charged with obstructing justice for concealing and harboring a fugitive.
Thank you to our FB and media friends; your help was invaluable…..Chief.